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The Woodlands Business & Commercial Law Blog

Dermatologist sued over breach of contract by business partner

When two or more people take the step to form a business together, each individual will put a great deal of money, blood, sweat and, sometimes, tears into getting the company off the ground. In order for each partner to protect his or her interests, legal contracts are created to identify what each partner is responsible for handling. Failure to meet the agreements laid out in such legal documents can be considered a breach of contract. Should a breach of contract occur, Texas business owners are entitled to pursue legal action against the individual who supposedly failed to hold up his or her end of the deal.

In another state, a dermatologist is being sued by his former business partner -- who is also a dermatologist -- after he chose to leave their practice after 20 years together and join a family-owned business. According to this individual's business partner, he put less money into the opening of their practice with the promise to reimburse his partner over the years. The plaintiff in this case claims that this reimbursement never took place, and the abrupt departure of the defendant has left the practice under-funded.

Closely held businesses: Pass it on, sell or close up shop?

Building a business from the ground up is no small feat. A lot of planning, preparation and good old hard work goes into making a business a success. Texas business owners may want to think about including plans for what should happen to the business when they are no longer able to lead it. This is particularly concerning for closely held businesses.

Business owners have a lot of decisions to make, including the decision to pass on the company to a successor, sell or to close up shop. For owners of closely held businesses, naming a successor can seem like an intimidating task. No one wants to hurt feelings which could, in-turn, have a negative impact on business operations. However, if the goal is to keep the business growing and succeeding, the job should go to the person best qualified to assume the responsibility. In some cases, picking a successor may not seem like the best option and selling the business or closing doors may provide a better solution.

Business law can help conquer the fears of owning a business

The decision to open a business location, whether it is a new business or an expansion, can be a tough one to make. There are a number of fears that can put the idea on the back burner. For Texas business owners or prospective business owners, business law protections can help ease these fears.

It is true that there are many risks to owning a business. The risks involved can be enough to keep some away from realizing their dreams of business formation and ownership. Some of the main fears felt by current and potential business owner are:

A construction defect claim can reduce home builder profits

The housing market seems to be doing well for both existing homes and new construction here in Texas. Building a new home is exciting for home buyers, and opening a new residential community can produce a great profit for home builders. Some would say it is a win-win situation all around. Unfortunately, home builders who are faced with a construction defect claim may face a tough legal battle, which -- if not properly prepared for -- may end up costing them dearly in the long-run.

In another jurisdiction, a home builder is under fire for possible construction defects. A mass-action lawsuit was filed against Shea Homes, who is accused of building homes that are not able withstand the environmental elements common in that area. Currently, 1,500 plaintiffs are taking part in this legal action.

Dealing in commercial real estate? Legal protections are a must

Based on a recent news article, it is safe to say that the business of commercial real estate is performing quite well in Texas. From investors looking to add to their portfolio, business owners looking to expand their companies and new developments in the works, commercial real estate transactions can be found taking place all over the state. These transactions are far from minor purchases and, as such, deserve binding contracts and legal protections.

Leases have been signed, purchases have been made and multiple projects are underway around Houston. Some of these include land purchases for industrial sites and apartment complexes, the change of ownership of retail locations and rental agreements signed for new businesses moving in. Each of these different types of commercial real estate transactions require a variety of different contracts to ensure all legal bases are covered.

Businesses of all sizes deserve experienced legal representation

Whether you are just starting a business, have been in business for a while or have decided to close up shop, business owners in Texas could benefit from experienced legal representation working on their behalf. The formation, running or dissolution of businesses can be complex. Taking appropriate legal steps can help ensure all bases are covered.

The formation of a business can be exciting to pursue. In order to protect a new business, it is important to take care of all the legalities involved. These may include deciding which type of entity to form, creating legal documents which spell out company policies and even ensuring adequate insurance policies have been established.

Unfair non-compete agreements can lead to business litigation

Non-compete agreements are fairly standard in the business world. These legal documents are often used to help protect company assets, particularly trade secrets, from being used by competitors should an employee choose to work elsewhere. While these contracts certainly serve a valuable purpose, Texas business owners must be careful to ensure that the stipulations spelled out in these documents are considered reasonable, as those that are considered unfair could lead to business litigation.

A nationwide fast food chain is currently drawing negative attention in the press for non-compete agreements it has supposedly required its minimum-wage workers to sign. According to recent news reports, Jimmy Johns has required low-wage hourly employees to sign contracts that would prohibit them from working for competing restaurants, within a set radius, for a minimum of two years. Several lawmakers are requesting a formal investigation to be performed by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Federal Trade Commission, claiming these type of contracts are incompatible with current labor laws.

Businesses shared with friends or family still need boundaries

There are a number of reasons why friends and/or family members living in Texas may choose to go into business together. One main reason would be that they already know their future business partners and feel it would be a good working relationship. However, the business world can be brutal, so it is a good idea for the owners of these businesses to set clear boundaries between their work and personal relationships.

When starting a business, communication between business partners is key. It is important for each partner to feel what they say is given equal weight. Being able to have open and honest communication is certainly a strength that can help not only their business relationship, but also improve the chances of future success.

What are the defining characteristics of closely held businesses?

Starting a business is an exciting venture to pursue. A lot of considerations must be made regarding the legal aspects of forming a business, as these choices can greatly affect the future of the company. For instance, small business owners in Texas and those of larger corporations may choose to keep their companies as closely held businesses. What exactly are the defining characteristics of closely held businesses and how does maintaining this status help a company's bottom-line?

For a business to qualify for closely held status, certain standards must be met. First and foremost, the company's assets need to be held by as few people as possible. According to the IRS, in order for a business to obtain closely held status, more than half of the company must be owned by no more than five people. Certain business types are ineligible to receive a closely held rating, including law firms, accounting firms, personal service firms of any type and engineering firms. However, every state does have individual corporate laws that must also be considered when determining if a business meets the definition of being closely held.

Former employees can cause business disputes in Texas

Most business owners here in Texas know just how important it can be to keep employees happy. This can lead to higher levels of employee retention, better productivity and even fewer sick days. There are times that, even with a business owner's best efforts, some employees are not going to be satisfied at their job. Some of them may even become so upset that they take out their frustrations by compromising a company's online security. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have recently warned that upset former -- or even current -- employees can be a major source of business disputes if their access to a company network isn't monitored.

The FBI and DHS cite the prevalence in the modern office of using computer networks to share information between employees and other authorized entities. Authorities warn that while this connectivity is useful, it can also be dangerous. Some employees have used this access to steal company secrets, abuse customer accounts or even manipulate and eliminate company data. This can occur when a company utilizes a cloud storage website or if an employee installs software on a company computer that allows him or her to log in remotely.